Posts tagged: Ric Vrana

St. Johns Booksellers’ Market Day Poetry Series #5 with Tommy Gaffney, Ric Vrana and Astrid the Asteroid

Tommy Gaffney

Tommy Gaffney

“Such a sad day for all of us,” opined Tommy Gaffney, regarding the imminent departure of Astrid from Portland, in anticipation of which Splice Finders trundled down to his local St. Johns Booksellers to capture the August 15 installment of this weekly Market Day Poetry Series curated by Dan Raphael.  The series is running in conjunction with the recently-inaugurated St. Johns Farmers’ Market.

Despite this impending mutual loss, it was another good day for local poetry in North Portland, with Ric Vrana leading off this enjoyable noon event, and Tommy, holder of head thusly (as Ric lovingly points out), carrier of The Reading at Tony’s business cards, and with book for sale at the counter, working the middle innings.

Ric Vrana

Ric Vrana

A planner by trade, Ric comes prepared with “reserve” into which he must dip – in fact they’re all reading too fast, no doubt because this caffeine hour flies by in a room already full of words, augmented by supporters Patrick Bocarde, Mike G and David Matthews who’ve made the journey North from their close-to-the-city climes for this modest gathering – “No Subway in My City,” “Queens Return,” all of Ric’s pieces now graciously cyanotyped upon the blueprint of our market day commute. Tommy generously previews the blurry lucidity of his forthcoming Whiskey Days (Daze? – again, the surfeit of words) but it’s his “Larry The Cantankerous” and its iconic, yellow-tinged “abandoned glass of milk” that truly disturbs our diurnal Prussian blue reverie.

However it was the ephemeral Astrid, brandishing electronic keyboard – and the prospect of her mid-day performance under the fluorescence amidst cookbooks and pulp mysteries within distance magnifique de vibration – whose promised presence piqued les intrigues de ces heures cassées. Words, though, are only words, so to these words we’ve appended a recording of this happening.

Astrid the Asteroid

Astrid the Asteroid

While it is possible to fill any geographic realm with a plethora of words, it falls to the truly gifted to achieve a potent concentration of imagery, and in discussing same it is often best to enter the imagery itself into evidence: “Where has your electric eel gone?/ Grant me the right-of-way to private pockets/ Read me those crusty old stories with wide eyes/Opalescent women raise from the dead their intuition/With the desire to rupture the salad sea/Prance along as tiny mice living in the air.”  (Close enough for mass transit, anyway.) In a candid moment after the event Astrid enthused that this was a particularly good performance and that she was grateful that it had been recorded.  Would have been a shame to miss out; enjoy the podcast.



And here’s to more such events in the months to follow long after the farmers have brought the last of their bounty to the Plaza (N. Philadelphia at N. Lombard in St. Johns, Portland, Oregon).  Thanks to the performers, to Dan Raphael, and to Nena, the proprietor of St. Johns Booksellers.   The Market Day Poetry Series continues through September 26.

(This podcast is no longer available)

Three Friends Mondays: Caffeinated Art #34

Christine Honitsu White

Christine Homitsu White

The premise is that we never know exactly what’s going to happen.  Safe enough.  However, Christine Homitsu White, host of the Blue Streak open mic poetry series, warned us that her stuff would go from “angry-sad to happier to neither/or,” so thus could we emit a littly sigh and ourselves prepare.  She proceeded to deliver a scathing indictment of February (“no guarantees”), and told us she was glad that it’s over.  And too soon she herself had progressed to the end of her sheaf of border-crossing billetes poetas.  Then Christine introduced her friend and local poetry legend, Doug Spangle, who said he had always wanted to read from the Three Friends Coffee House stage and proceeded to do so, emerging from the mythology lab, rinsing any trace of predictability off the green apples of  “Pers.doc” and “Perseus Pursuing,” two sections from his titanic series of poems about the Portland bridges.  Finally, music duo The Blair-Rich Project played a quartet of songs, de-sugared verses arranged for vocals, guitar and a drum, their power surprising us in our caffeinated harness.


The Blair-Rich Project

So it came to pass, churned flagrant and displacing reason’s flies and the butter fat of the mansion that is the Show and Tell Open Mic, it all-too welcoming the curiously strong new month and surprises it may bring, eh what? (yeah, man!)  Briefly filling-in for Melissa Sillitoe, the mortal caffeinaut Luke Lefler (how he mumbles! did he say she was having her ants photographed?) would kick-stab the engraving which began with poco diablo Dennis McBride who in the coarse dew of time ushered Pat Vivian to the landing to relive “Friday Night at the Maytown Tavern.”  Warn’t takin’ out the trash no more Mike (not a miso) G (ynist) – Saint Dick – alone, stalked by more poems of love and doom and death from Ric Vrana.  The male chorus line continued with J. D. Deverest and Christian Kenseth (kept us in the dark) unto another end which also had not as yet been determined: part one of the Open Mic podcast.



Part two of the posted parade heard all attent to toasting birthday boy Wayne Flower ghosting, and continued with the finery of connoisseur of melancholy Rick J, songwriter Lauren who’d never really read his poetry, Tobiah, “better known as the Ambassador of Truth,” that being the truth that’s “out there,” and Michael gifted his militantly rhythmic poetry its open mic debut.  Hung at the extremity Patrick Bocarde with more strange creatures and Chad MD not displaying his queue card.



If you go away on a winter’s day then you might as well go to the “page” where we host the Three Friends Mondays: Caffienated Art podcast but, Fortunato, laying, please leave the Sun, because in the end, the pods you cast are equal to the pods to which you passed another brick in the wall of wonder that is whozits’ monstrous aggregation-purveyor known as iTunes, now with more tar and caffeine than the other pod pers.capita, as sure as links is links:

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